Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 1 crore penalty to be slapped on violators of Aadhaar rules by UIDAI
Aadhaar card is one of the most important documents to identify a citizen in India. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) issues a 12-digit verifiable identification number for every man, woman and child in the country. It serves several purposes from ID verification to registration on various portals and even getting access to various government subsidies. However, with so many services, there have been cases when people have been found misusing Aadhaar card. To deal with violation of Aadhaar rule violators, and to make the card fully safe and secure, UIDAI has recently got permission to levy huge fines on fraudsters. The Aadhaar card data, in the form of fingerprints and Iris scans is captured by biometric devices of all those who get the unique ID. Any fraudulent interventions will invite massive penalties now.
Government has introduced the UIDAI (Adjudication of Penalties) Rules, 2021 on November 2 under which the UIDAI can file a penalty against any unauthorized access or violation of Act or the UIDAI’s directions. Adjudicating Officers appointed by the UIDAI will be responsible for such matters, and may impose penalties up to ₹1 crore on such entities.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal shall be the appellate authority against decisions of the Adjudicating Officer. Notably, the legislation enacting the UIDAI (Adjudication of Penalties) Rules, 2021, was passed in 2019, however, there was no provisions for the UIDAI to take enforcement action against errant entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem. Hence, a new chapter was added to the Aadhaar Act to provide for civil penalties. The provisions said, “Penalty for failure to comply with provisions of this Act, rules, regulations and directions [Section 33A] – upto Rs. 1 crore for each contravention.”
Not only this, UIDAI will also charge a penalty of Rs. 10,000 and imprisonment for three years for impersonating or providing false demographic or biometric information. The official statement says, “Appropriating the identity of an Aadhaar number holder by changing or attempting to change the demographic and biometric information of an Aadhaar number holder is an offense – imprisonment for 3 years and a fine of Rs. 10,000.”